Thursday, June 21, 2012

Solstice Dreams

Yesterday was our longest day for enjoying Yosemite. A thin trace of smoke from the 234-acre controlled burn near Hodgdon Meadow added dimension to the Valley skies - surely a sign that it's summer.
The Merced River would normally be flowing at over 1400 cfs at Pohono Bridge on this date; today is just over 200 cfs. Yosemite Falls is light, but still photo-worthy; it won't be in a few weeks, and it'll completely disappear in August. Mirror Lake still has water in it -as well as people in it, enjoying the gentle flow for cooling off.

Draperia, Azalea and Spicebush bloom in the Valley. Tanagers and both vireos are still singing; grosbeaks are quieter. Saw Vaux's swift over the Visitor Center yesterday. The Conservancy was a sponsor of last weekend's successful Mono Lake Bird Chautauqua - lots of birds and even more great birders.
The museum has a new exhibit in the gallery: historic landscapes that include Ayers, Moran, Jorgensen, Beirstadt and Obata. It's there to the end of September.
There was a 2.4 earthquake 16 miles beneath Crane Flat on Monday afternoon - an unusual place for this, but the Sierra is very much a living range.
Visitation has been busy but not as busy as last year when lots of media attention to above average waterfall flows drew extra crowds early in the summer.

The Conservancy has a wonderful art course coming up in mid-July: "Tuolumne Meadows Pastels" with Moira Donohoe. It's a great chance to improve some skills in a remarkable landscape.

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